There have been several changes to the Communication Disorders Department in the last year, with retirings and new hires. Changes are still happening, and the Communication Disorders Department is happy to introduce two new assistant professors that were hired this summer, Tyson Harmon and Julie Schow. Get to know a little about both of these new faculty members below.
Tyson Harmon was raised in Mountain View, a small town in Wyoming. This school year, he will be teaching the communication disorders introductory course with Bonnie Brinton and some graduate classes on aphasia and fluency disorders. He double majored in communications disorders and Portuguese at BYU, then stayed to get a master's in speech pathology. He recently earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Harmon's specialties lie in neurogenic communication disorders (specifically aphasia and acquired apraxia of speech), which encompass difficulty speaking due to brain damage. While he was getting his doctorate, he did research under his mentors in diagnosing aphasia and in transcranial direct current stimulation, or TDCS, and its potential benefits to aphasia patients in naming tasks. His personal research interests include studying how emotion and attention affect communication performance in aphasia patients.
Harmon is married and has four children, one girl and three boys, with a girl on the way. He likes to hike and run with his wife so much that they both completed a marathon last October. He also likes to sing, listen to music, and draw, especially portraits. One of his favorite things about the communication disorders field is working with people. He learns much from his clients about resilience, positivity, and how to deal with challenging situations. He says, "I love how service-oriented it is" and how it "attracts such nice people!"
Harmon wants students to know that he is invested in their learning, in their professional lives, and in them as people. He also wants them to know that he appreciates the spiritual climate of BYU. He explains, "My faith in Jesus Christ is important to me. I came to BYU because of the unique opportunity here to integrate the spiritual and the secular." He hopes students will enjoy and learn from this unique learning environment as much as he will.
Julie Schow has been working at BYU as a part-time clinical educator for the past five years. As an assistant professor, she will continue performing those duties as well as additional ones. She is currently the off-campus internship coordinator for the department and teaches the accompanying internship class. She will also be teaching aural rehabilitation and language development.
Professor Schow has been in the field for 25 years, working in schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. She enjoys the medical side of speech pathology, and some of her special interests are pediatric feeding and adult brain injuries. She says, "People are very complicated, and no one is the textbook example of just one disorder." Each person is a unique combination of strengths and limitations. She likes the problem-solving aspect of the field, and whether she is educating a family that is stumped by their child's behavior or helping an adult relearn to talk, she loves giving hope.
Professor Schow is an optimist. She wants students to "see the best about themselves and the future." She continues, "The gospel teaches us to see things through a lens of hope and to believe in good things to come."
Professor Schow grew up in Canada, and has stayed in Utah ever since coming to BYU for her undergraduate degree. She likes to sail on Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake, as well as ski and hike with her husband. Schow and her husband have six children and two grandchildren. Two of their children are currently BYU students, and their youngest daughter is serving a mission in Micronesia.
These new professors have already made a great contribution to the Communication Disorders Department. Welcome!